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Houston Area - Electricity Plan

Mod3l 3

Member
Jan 27, 2018
51
6
Texas
Any suggestions on a good electricity plan in the Houston area? I’m looking to lock in a rate for the next couple of years as I’ve heard 2 major plants are going to be shut soon lowering supply.

Trouble I’m having is that my electricity consumption varies between 300-1400KW currently. I expect the Tesla to add 600KW (6-7 charge cycles a month) to that. Majority of the plans I’ve found favor 1000kwh with steep penalties either way. Anyone in a similar boat?
 

SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,180
5,657
Houston, TX
Check TXU Energy's plans. They have 3 different plans that have free nights (9PM - 6AM). This works out great for EV users, as you can just have the car charge at night during the free hours. Just be aware that the daytime rates aren't so good, so it's helpful if you shift other energy loads to the night hours as well (laundry, dishes, etc.)
 
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Mod3l 3

Member
Jan 27, 2018
51
6
Texas
Thanks. I looked into them but decided to go with Trieagle for now. The horrible reviews and high cost to cancel were a deterrent.
 

s0schen

Member
Jul 31, 2017
34
23
Texas
I'm currently trying out Griddy in anticipation of our model 3 delivery. Wholesale cost directly passed to customer. Has the disadvantage of being exposed to surges in electricity prices in the afternoon, but I'm personally a fan of 'self insuring' whenever possible. Also some might not like that it is a pre-paid plan. One week into the switch, middle of night prices look like 1.8c/kwh + (centerpoint) 3.5c/kwh delivery charge. Averaging 7.4c/kwh this last week so far and I imagine it will average lower after we start charging at night.
 

Sandiegodoug

Member
Apr 25, 2017
877
584
SAN Diego
You guys are so lucky
Our ev super low 12am to 6 am is .22
And if you happen to use power in afternoon
4pm- 9pm try .54/kWh
Thank god for solar and free supercharger use for our x
Also, sdge is asking for an 11% Increase next year!
 
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CWFLY

Member
May 9, 2018
65
55
San Diego
Yeah, probably time to confront the P.U.C. about SDG&E. (San Diego)
22 cents per kWh at midnight San Diego is more than ridiculous.

Electricity is easy to ship from city to city with very little loss.
Even worse, in San Diego county, there is a Power Plant on the beach in Carlsbad, but the output doesn't even serve San Diego... It's shipped to Phoenix or somewhere.
 

ergela

Member
Apr 1, 2016
171
223
Houston, TX
This is the cheapest flat plan in Houston. I have no affiliation with these guys other than the fact that I signed up with them last month at 8.9 before 5.99 monthly fee. It's up to 9.2. This is extremely cheap. Do no fall for the "Free Nights" plans, they catch you with insane peak rates.

Also Griddy is normally great. But this year is a really bad year to try them. The ERCOT grid is strained this year and while it's not as bad as analyst expected this year, it will still be bad on the real time wholesale side. This is why you are seeing 10-12 cent rates when they were 8-9 cent a few months ago. Regular plans don't just jump like this, they are based on wholesale pricing down the curve. Do not go griddy this year. Find a plan like i linked below that will lock a rate down, this link is directly from powertochoose.org (texas' official electricity shopping site).

If you have any questions, PM me, i'm in the industry.

Signup - https://goo.gl/WLpaeo
EFL - http://ourenergyllc.com/prodox/EFLS/june18/CNPONC12FIXALLADVANTAGEPLUS-06122018-1.pdf
 
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ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
You definitely have to read the fine details on the "free at night" plans. The price they list is based on an assumed percentage in the "free" time period mixed with a very high not-at-night rate. So the not-at-night rate is NOT the rate you see advertised. IIRC the advertised top-line rate was 10 cents while the actual rate for not-at-night was something like 13-14 cents/kWh. That can still work for you if you can move almost all your usage into the "free" zone but given that Houston is a high A/C usage town, you'll need to be rather aggressive in your temp control and even then you're likely to end up with a good amount in the paid zone. I definitely wouldn't do it without an EV that I expected to put a lot of daily miles on, and even with an EV you'll need to consider a "lifestyle" accommodation.

For me in the end it became moot because I went with my own panels, and there's no plan combining "free/cheap night time" with buy back for my excess power. The good news for you is I can share some data to give you an idea of what you'd be facing because I've been messing around with trying stuff out anyway, and the panel equipment tracks usage around with production. ;)

YMMV of course but here's a 15 minute interval of my power usage from earlier this month (I'm North of Houston). The blue is solar production, the orange is usage. Where they are lighter shade is where one is offsetting the other. I marked the 8pm point for easier reference. I have the thermostat set to 74F overnight, then raise the set point to 78F at 7AM, lower it to 75F at 5PM and then to 74F at 6:15PM. This is around my wife's typical work day, as 74F is the limit that she'll bear. ;)

The baseline of about 2kW from midnight to 6AM is my pool circulating pump, the big hump starting just after midnight is the EV's daily (it was about 80-90 mile worth IIRC, which is typical for us). The spikes at about 2:30am and 5am are the A/C. Even with the raised daytime set point you can see by about 4pm the AC kicks in anyway, then it's catching up from the day. There might be a load of laundry late evening, too. Not sure, never tracked that.

If you aren't ok with letting the temp rise like that during the day (which happens for us on the weekends, because "happy wife, happy life" ;) ) it gets pretty ugly.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.23.17 AM.png
 
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jamnmon66

Member
Apr 10, 2018
572
406
Brighton, CO
You guys are so lucky
Our ev super low 12am to 6 am is .22
And if you happen to use power in afternoon
4pm- 9pm try .54/kWh
Thank god for solar and free supercharger use for our x
Also, sdge is asking for an 11% Increase next year!
I'm visiting family in Sacramento this weekend from a northern suburb of Denver. My brother-in-law showed me his electric bill and his rates are roughly double what mine are. I've been looking at residential rooftops and I'm surprised by the lack of solar systems. I see a lot more solar at home than here.

My payback (depending on how you calculate it) will be ~8-10 years. Seems like the payback here would be half that time assuming similar costs. Obviously solar only makes sense if you're a homeowner and you're planning on staying in your home for a while. But that applies to a lot of people so there must be another reason why.

OP, sorry if this is a hijack. I can start another thread if you prefer.
 

CWFLY

Member
May 9, 2018
65
55
San Diego
Be careful with 10 year predictions.
EV is a game changer, and may shift the off-peak hours to the overnight hours. (just my own hunch... no data backing it up.)
 
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ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
My payback (depending on how you calculate it) will be ~8-10 years. Seems like the payback here would be half that time assuming similar costs.

The math works out that double the utility cost would make the payoff a lot faster than double. However there are caveats. The simplest (AKA cheapest to install) system is where you're grid tied. If you can't get reasonable buy back rates (or a buy back contract at all!), if you're only getting a fraction of credit for putting a 1kWh onto the compared to what you pay pulling off, your ROI goes in the toilet unless you manage to use nearly everything you produce as you're producing it.

Also, you have to be careful about what you're charged per/kWh on the net balance of power to/from the grid if you ultimately use more than you produce, and that there isn't any extra flat fees. My overage is $119MWh, with a standard contract I'd pay about $90MWh, maybe a touch less if I took a roll on a short-term contract (as per people mentioning up page). This is actually something I'm trying to make sure t

A third gotcha is that some buy back contracts will periodically zero out your net positive credit! I didn't have many choices and one of the few I did would zero out any net positive credit at the end of each October. :(

At the end of it, there was only one company serving my area that gives full credit and would pay out cash at the end of the contract for any positive balance. In fact they are very happy to have me send a big pile of current back onto the grid during the day because ultimately their model is sell solar and wind, "green", contracts. They pay me $119MWh and, IIRC, sell it back to someone else at $130MWh. On the flip side a lot of the electricity at night that I'll draw is way, way cheaper on the Texas grid because of all the West Texas wind turbines. Occasionally wholesale prices drop below free toward the West side of the State and the East side here tracks this to an extent.
 

ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
Be careful with 10 year predictions.
EV is a game changer, and may shift the off-peak (high demand for electricity) to the overnight hours. (just my own hunch... no data backing it up.)

This is true, to an extent. CO has different factors, but here in TX we have a huge A/C demand which solar generally fits well with. We still have "the duck", with the early evening. My graph above though isn't really in line with commercial usage and, for now, households. One factor that convinced me to pull the trigger is that my major roof area is orientated SW. That pushes my production out later in the day. Fight the duck. ;)

As well wind is continuing to be built out at an escalating pace, they are shipping turbine blades by the train load. That should help blunt that effect here.

My biggest concern over multiple year window is actually potentially dropping electricity prices. That'd probably be a bigger concern in CO than here, though. They've got even stronger solar & wind potential, as that speculative bid action for providing future power suggests. (Don't have the link handy). If you look at what Musk is talking about, too, about providing $70MWh of DC power (so that's with 10% AC->DC losses lopped off) to Semi customers. Everywhere in the US. Those customers use so much that he's got to be operating that at a net zero cost or he'd be in trouble. I know he's got some "I'll sell grid stabilizing services to subsidize it" magic in mind but that still suggests he sees low power prices.
 

ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
BTW the reason for me timeshiftimg the EV charging to after midnight has nothing to do with electricity rates. It's a summer heat thing, as my garage isn't air conditioned. I don't know where the numbers exactly fall on the Model 3 but charging wall-to-battery efficiency starts dropping for the Bolt as ambient temps rise past the low 70s.
 
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richtrav

Member
Apr 20, 2019
138
121
South Texas
If you don't mind spending $35, there is a site that can tell you which plan is cheapest for your area given the amount of electricity you use. I used it about a year ago and they got me a MUCH lower monthly rate. They even give you a separate analysis if you want to use 100% renewables.

Energy Choice Experts
 

s0schen

Member
Jul 31, 2017
34
23
Texas
I'm currently trying out Griddy in anticipation of our model 3 delivery. Wholesale cost directly passed to customer. Has the disadvantage of being exposed to surges in electricity prices in the afternoon, but I'm personally a fan of 'self insuring' whenever possible. Also some might not like that it is a pre-paid plan. One week into the switch, middle of night prices look like 1.8c/kwh + (centerpoint) 3.5c/kwh delivery charge. Averaging 7.4c/kwh this last week so far and I imagine it will average lower after we start charging at night.


Looks like this thread is still kind of alive. Since June 2018 my average all in rate of electricity is now 9.1cents / kWh over 11 months. I use about 1500 kWh per month. A few months ago they released IFTTT controls for Nest so I could cycle down the AC when wholesale electricity rates surge. April rate was 8 cents / kWh. A couple times at night the rate dips to 0. So I'm pretty happy overall. If anyone is interested my referral link is Sign up for Griddy and we both receive a $25 credit. not much, but $25 credit each.
 

ricefunds

Member
May 14, 2019
5
0
Chicago Illinois
Thee are so many plans and they all have different Ts and Cs making an apples to apples comparison impossible. I am in the industry however we don't serve resi customers. It is a shame the way utilities and suppliers make it so complicated. However IMO this is by design enabling consumers to fall asleep and let their contracts expire whereby they can charge whatever they want. Lesson should be to make your own where possible, enter contracts with eyes open, consider supply agreements that are straight forward and long term.

In many states there are rules about ETFs in terms of what the penalty can be. In these cases use that to your advantage. In other words as a consumer you have that advantage. Both parties are in agreement as to price and term. The supplier cannot leave the contract if rates go up and you are on a fixed price product. However you can leave at times for no or a minimal ETF. That is a huge advantage,
 

ricefunds

Member
May 14, 2019
5
0
Chicago Illinois
Since the average car consumes almost as much power as the average house this free nights and weekends deals can be gamed by EV owners. Even more so by people who have two EVs at home.

For example if you have 2 EVs and are on a free nights and weekends. Your annual consumption for your house and 2 cars might be 10,000 KWH and 20,000 KWH respectively. Say you get onto a 3 year fixed rate of 9 cents per KWH with free nights and weekends. If you charge your cars exclusively on nights and weekends (would need two chargers) you would effectively bring your average price down to 3 cents per KWH.

IMO suppliers will eventually wise up and make changes to their plans if too many exploit this giant loophole. On the other hand power is plentiful at night so you are doing the grid a favor by consuming all that free power. But until then you are foolish not to take advantage.

In the future we will shift power with all these batteries on wheels by charging at night and discharging during peak times. That will be fun and for a another conversation.
 

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